Pandemic Message

COVID-19 Update: For updates on the current status of each opportunity, please contact the Advisor listed, or for courses, check the linked Class Roster page.


Terms and Dates:

  • Winter 2021

Cornell Affiliations:

Global Learning, SC Johnson Business - Dyson


SMART Program


Opportunity Description

The Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Teams (SMART) Program is a unique service learning program of the Emerging Markets Program (EMP). SMART brings together teams of both graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and staff from across the university and pairs them with small companies, organizations, and community groups located in developing countries and emerging economies.

SMART teams work to address a specific need identified by their international partner. Students work on well-defined assignments challenging them to apply classroom knowledge and skills in real world international development settings. students contribute technical assistance and analytical support, present their research and analyses, and then return to Cornell to develop publishable case studies and other materials to enrich learning in university classrooms and executive education programs.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Provide students with an innovative service learning experience working with underserved businesses, NGOs, universities, and rural communities in developing countries.
  • Offer students a greater understanding of private and public sector led economic development.
  • Improve student’s analytical abilities to develop case studies and other academic analyses of emerging markets issues.
  • Facilitate learning to work in a multidisciplinary team to conduct problem-solving research in emerging markets.
  • Provide technical assistance and analytical support to underserved businesses, NGOs, and communities.

With its internationalization mission, Cornell aims to ensure that international education, research, and engagement are woven into academic life structures that cut across college/department barriers. It encourages international partnerships, engaged learning and research opportunities for students involving meaningful international experiences linked to their curricula. Through the SMART Program, EMP extends this aspiration, provides international service learning and problem-solving experiences for Cornell students, and models meaningful engagement with community, government, and emerging markets business partners.

You can take a self-guided tour of the 2020 International Annual Symposium which is populated with student research projects (e.g. posters, videos, photos, etc.) from the 2019-2020 academic year. The projects were diverse and represent unique sectors including: dairy, food safety, dried fruit and flour, digital agriculture, sweet potatoes (bread/snacks), honey and fingerlings.

2021-2022 SMART Projects

Due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, the SMART Program will not include international travel this academic year.

At a glance, SMART 2021-2022 will include the following components:

  • 5 teams with 4-6 students per team (3 teams focused on a research project that includes domestic travel and 2 teams working virtually with African companies)
  • Fall ‘21—Info Sessions | Applications | Team Creation/Planning | AEM 4415 Course
  • Spring ‘22—AEM 4421 | Team Data Collection | Presentations | Symposium

More information is available on the SMART Program Website. If you have any questions regarding the program, please email Dr. Fridah Mubichi-Kut at